The Boston area, it seems, is suddenly awash in juice. Faster than you can say "cold-pressed," the fresh-juice trend has landed here with a vengeance. Juice bars are popping up all over town, promising healing, renewal, and balance in a glass — or at least a tasty, healthy drink that (arguably) offers all the nutrition of the kale, cucumber, apple, and ginger that went into it. Many juice bars also feature related items like acai bowls and smoothies.
The new juice bars fall into two categories: Much of the buzz is about cold-pressed juice, which has been extracted with a hydraulic press that creates almost no heat. If you go into a juice bar and find the selections bottled and in a refrigerated case, there's a good chance they were cold-pressed. If your fresh-pressed juice is made on the spot and served in a cup, it's probably not cold-pressed.
Should you care? Some argue that cold-pressed juices are more nutritious; others contend that on-demand juice is fresher (and it's certainly easier to customize). Cold-pressed juices, because they're refrigerated, are served cold, whereas fresh-pressed juices are often closer to room temperature. We say that unless you're planning to live on juice — and even the beverage's biggest proponents don't advocate a "cleanse" that lasts forever — the best juice is the one that's near at hand. These days, that shouldn't present much of a challenge. Here's a guide to some of the best of the local bunch.
Nourish Your Soul, with locations in Fort Point and Medford, says it's "Boston's first cold-pressed juice bar." It's certainly the first one founded by a woman (Susan Cabana) who decided to change her life after losing her husband and job within a few short years. The menu includes seven variations on juice-bar mainstay green juice. Lean Green is nicely spicy, but pure deliciousness is in the more indulgent PPM: pineapple, pear, and mint. 15 Channel Center Street, Boston, and 17 Playstead Road, Medford, 888-995-8423, nourishyoursoul.com
The South Shore is a hotbed of juice bars. First out of the gate, according to founder Stephen Johnson, was the Cohasset Lido, opened in fall 2012. The Hingham shop followed this April. The light, spare space feels like someone's extremely tasteful parlor and kitchen; customers watch as employees feed produce into the Ruby 2000 centrifugal juicer. Pick a combo from the menu — the powerful Village Green is most popular, says Johnson — or request a custom blend. 103 Ripley Road, Cohasset, 781-383-3030, and 60 South Street, Hingham, 781-741-5436, www.lidojuicebar.squarespace.com
Powerhouse is a new juice and smoothie truck making the round of farmers' markets this summer. Check the website for the schedule; we caught up with the truck on a Saturday morning at the Waltham Farmers' Market. Husband-and-wife juicers Robert and Heather DeBerio hope to open a brick-and-mortar shop in the not-too-distant future. Meanwhile, track them down for the best-tasting green juice around: Sweet Greens, a mixture of pineapple, green apple, kale, spirulina, mint, and lemon. Based in Woburn, 978-729-3244, powerhousejuice.com
Cocobeet calls itself "Boston's original organic cold-pressed juice bar," so thank or blame it as you see fit. This friendly Government Center spot sources many ingredients locally and offers appealing mixtures like Finish Line (sunflower seed milk, watermelon, pineapple, beet, banana, strawberries, dates, chia seeds, and lemon), designed to refuel — and reward — Marathon runners. For a true shot of cognitive dissonance, try Black Rose, which contains activated charcoal: Looks like ink, tastes like lemonade. 100 City Hall Plaza, Boston, 857-263-8598, cocobeet.com
Some of Jugos's customers probably have closets bigger than this cute Back Bay shop, with its sidewalk display of fresh fruit, but the tiny space buzzes with activity. Juices are made to order, so the noise level can be high, but it's not a place to linger. Rather, it's where frazzled commuters come to recharge, choosing from a menu with a Latin accent. Check out the de temporada (seasonal) juices for refreshing summer coolers. 145 Dartmouth Street, Boston, 617-418-9879, visitjugos.com
What would you do with a huge cash windfall? When Stacy Madison sold her Stacy's Pita Chip Co. to PepsiCo, she opened a juice bar. Her colorful, comfortable Stacy's Juicebar in Needham, accented in juicy greens and fuchsia, makes juices to order. And Madison knows her suburban audience: Customers 12 and under can get a kiddie-size juice. Mint Green is a refreshing choice, but those seeking something extra might try a "power juice" like Workout, Immunity, or Radiance. 1257 Highland Avenue, Needham, 781-444-5842, stacysjuicebar.com
Imagine a juice bar that started off as a food truck, offering juices and smoothies made from seasonal, local, organic produce. Now imagine that juice bar in the hipster-nerd heart of Kendall Square, with friendly, helpful counter folk offering drinks with names like Unicorn Blood, C++, and Kale Yea. And now imagine that same juice bar opening in the new Boston Public Market. Just add catering capabilities, and you've imagined Mother Juice. 625 West Kendall Street, Cambridge, and 100 Hanover Street, Boston, 617-945-7357, motherjuiceboston.com
If you don't know what "Peruvian lucuma" is, Beacon Hill's Pressed is the place to find out. The subtropical fruit is one ingredient in the Iron mixture, which also includes spinach, cucumber, apple, lemon, and ginger. (All the juices are named for an element found within them.) The sleek, chic Pressed also offers its fruity flavors in an unusual format: frozen. Pastel paletas — fresh fruit pops — beckon from a freezer case; a rose-and-blueberry version hits the spot on a hot day, and the small-batch flavors are always changing. 120 Charles Street, Boston, 857-350-3103, pressedboston.com
Is juice a beverage or an ideology? At Revolution Juice, whose slogan is "Healing the world, one drink at a time," it's both. Juices are made to order, and owners Heather and Dominic Costa are true believers who are happy to share their knowledge with customers. Don't like any of the standard combos on offer? Customers can design their own blends and choose from an impressive list of add-ins, ranging from chlorella to cacao nibs. 150 Huntington Avenue, Boston, 857-233-4313, revolutionjuice.com
Liquiteria, the first local outpost of a New York mini-chain (which bills itself as "New York City's original cold-pressed juice"), is a bit of an outlier on planet juice. Most Boston-area juice bars have a laid-back, semi-rustic vibe. Liquiteria, in Harvard Square, is loud and bright — more of an urban juice-bar experience. All Greens, one of four green variations, is a hard-core mix of kale, spinach, romaine, parsley, celery, and cucumber; juice newbies might prefer versions with some combination of apple, lemon, and ginger. 1440 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, 617-588-9955, liquiteria.com
Jane Dornbusch is a writer in Needham. Send comments to email@example.com.
WHERE WHEATGRASS SPROUTED
By Elizabeth Gehrman
Juicing raw foods may seem like a hot new trend, but its Boston roots trace back to a Lithuanian woman who arrived in Middleborough in 1922, when she was 13. Remembering how her grandmother had treated villagers in the old country with poultices, Ann Wigmore became convinced of the healing properties of the mashed grasses the old woman had used and began experimenting with seeds to find the most nutritious ones. She hit upon wheatgrass and concluded that juicing was the best way to ingest it.
In 1963, Wigmore opened the Hippocrates Health Institute on Commonwealth Avenue at Exeter Street, preaching her philosophy of "living foods" as a natural healer of just about everything and gaining followers across the country. She died in a fire at age 84, leaving a legacy that includes three organizations bearing her name and thousands of acolytes.